3 Reasons the Deadly Lac-Mégantic Oil Train Disaster Could Happen Again

By Justin MikulkaIn the five years since the oil train disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, claimed 47 lives, the world has learned much about the risks that hauling oil by rail poses. One of the clearest lessons is how little has been done to address those risks, which means that deadly event could easily happen again. To mark the anniversary, Kathleen Fox, chair of the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada, released a statement on oil-by-rail. “Much has been accomplished in the intervening years, but more remains to be done,” she said.Fox is correct about one thing: More remains to be done. Much more.Here are three main reasons history may yet repeat itself.

EPA Rule Change Would Expose Teenagers to Highly Toxic Chemicals

By Farron Cousins The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) is taking aim at two rules designed to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals by workers under the age of 18. The agency has filed notices with the federal register of its intent to either tweak or outright eliminate these protections for underage workers. The first rule the agency is looking to change is one the Obama administration adopted in 2015 which prohibited farmworkers under the age of 18 from handling and dispersing certain pesticides deemed too toxic for public sale. Typically, the pesticides used on large agricultural sites contain far more potent and toxic chemicals, and these pesticides

U.S. Bank Quietly Joins $4B Deal With Dakota Access Owner After Declaring End to Oil and Gas Pipeline Loans

By Sharon Kelly At a shareholder meeting this past spring, U.S. Bank announced it would be the first large American bank to completely stop issuing loans for oil and gas pipeline construction projects. Environmental groups, indigenous activists and divestment advocates hailed U.S. Bank’s announcement as a triumph. Yet that triumph—and the bank’s commitment—seems less sure with

The Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Is a Bipartisan Success Story, Which House Republicans Want to Undo

By Ben Jervey As the House and Senate develop their respective versions of a tax reform bill, the $7,500 federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit is positioned to be a potential bargaining chip. The House’s version of the bill, the ” Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ,” includes a repeal of the EV tax credit . The Senate’s newly introduced version, at the moment, doesn’t kill the credit . Current policy calls for an already-scheduled phase out

7 Reasons Why Jeff Flake Is Awful on Climate Change and Energy Justice

This week, U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) made national headlines by dramatically announcing his retirement on the U.S. Senate floor. Flake focused his speech on the erratic behavior of President Donald Trump and the nationalistic, anti-immigration turn taken by some Republican Party politicians in recent years. “I have decided that I will be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself from the political considerations that consume far too much bandwidth

Top Trump Official for Pipeline Safety Profits from Selling Oil Spill Equipment

By Itai Vardi A newly appointed federal regulator charged with overseeing pipeline safety personally profits from oil spill responses, a DeSmog investigation has found. Drue Pearce is the acting administrator for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an agency in the Department of Transportation responsible for ensuring oil and gas pipeline integrity. However, she is also associated with a company specializing in the sale of oil spill equipment. Pearce, a Republican from Alaska, was appointed on Aug. 7 by the Trump administration to serve as PHMSA’s deputy administrator

Scotland Bans Fracking After ‘Overwhelming’ Public Opposition

By Simon Roach The Scottish government has said fracking is set to be permanently banned following “overwhelming” public support for outlawing the controversial process, it was announced Tuesday . Unlike in England, fracking has been under a temporary halt in Scotland since 2015, and an extensive public consultation on its long-term future was carried out earlier this year. Speaking to members of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, the Scottish Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse said the ban should be extended “indefinitely” and that “the Scottish government will not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.” The proposed ban, which will make use of planning and environmental regulation powers

Meeting Paris Goals Means Dealing With Climate Impacts of Eating Meat

By Ashley Braun Environmental groups place a lot of attention on trying to stop new oil, gas and coal development since current fossil fuel projects would likely already blow us past the less-than 2°C upper limit for warming laid out in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement . In fact, there’s a whole movement, known as

Sunoco Ordered to Temporarily Suspend Drilling on Pipeline Project

By Sharon Kelly The Pennsylvania’s Environmental Hearing Board ordered Sunoco Pipeline LP Tuesday to temporarily halt some types of work on a $2.5 billion pipeline project designed to carry 275,000 barrels a day of butane, propane and other liquid fossil fuels from Ohio and West Virginia, across Pennsylvania, to the Atlantic coast. On July 19, three environmental groups presented Judge Bernard Labuskes,

Koch-Funded Electric Car Video Debunked Again and Again

By Ben Jervey Just last week, we fact-checked and debunked every line of The Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars , a video produced by Fueling U.S. Forward , a Koch-funded campaign to push fossil fuels. That video represents the group’s first public pivot from fossil fuel boosterism to electric vehicle ( EV ) attacks. More electric vehicle experts are also picking the video apart. One effort is this video highlighting many of the same falsehoods we wrote about , and which adds key context about some of the

Lobby Group Tied to Koch Brothers, Brexit Climate Deniers Pushes ‘Strong Pro-Corporate Agenda’

By Mat Hope A new lobby group has appeared in Europe claiming to represent “consumers.” But a closer look reveals it is actually backed by some familiar groups known for their efforts to weaken climate and environmental regulations. The Consumer Choice Centre was set up in March 2017 and was promoted as ” a grassroots-led movement ” that ” empowers consumers across the globe .” But an investigation by Brussels think tank

Energy Transfer Partners in Hot Water Again Over Rover Pipeline Construction

By Steve Horn After taking heat last fall for destroying sacred sites of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe , the owner of the Dakota Access pipeline finds itself embattled anew over the preservation of historic sites, this time in Ohio. Documents filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) show that Energy Transfer Partners is in the midst of a dispute with the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office over a $1.5 million annual payment owed to the state agency as part of a five-year agreement signed in February. Energy Transfer Partners was set to pay the preservation office in exchange for bulldozing the Stoneman House, a historic home built in 1843 in Dennison, Ohio,

Spectra Energy Got to Edit Its Air Pollution Permit for Atlantic Bridge Gas Project

By Itai Vardi Massachusetts environmental officials allowed Spectra Energy to quietly review and edit a draft approval of an air pollution permit the state plans to grant the company for its Atlantic Bridge gas project . According to emails obtained by DeSmog through an open records request, this privilege of reviewing and editing the draft approval was granted exclusively to Spectra and not to the general public. Editing Compressor Project’s Draft Pollution Permit As part of the

Pipeline Ruptures Spilling 29,000 Gallons of Oil, Just Hours After Obama Signs PIPES Act

Ironically, less than 24 hours after the PIPES Act was signed into law, an oil pipeline…